As school employees wrap off a historic strike calling for higher compensation and better working conditions, classrooms in the Los Angeles area will be shuttered for a third day on Thursday.
After nearly a year of fruitless negotiations with the school district, the Service Employees International Union Local 99, representing about 30,000 Los Angeles school custodians, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, and other student services staff, started picketing on Monday with the backing of the district’s teachers.
Thursday’s demonstration in the Los Angeles State Historical Park will mark the end of the three-day strike as union members from the second-largest school district in the country” “express their strong, unified plea for LAUSD to bargain properly,” according to SEIU Local 99.
According to the union, school employees intend to return to work on Friday.
Angry union members claim that while providing essential services to the Los Angeles Unified School District pupils, they feel undervalued due to poor pay, scant staffing, and short hours. The union claims the typical worker’s income is $25,000, forcing many to hold down additional employment.”
“We live in this weird paradox as workers that help feed children, and yet we struggle to feed our children,” union member Adrian Alverez told CNN affiliate KCAL” “We help students go to college, yet don’t have enough money to send our kids to college.”
“Equitable wage increases, greater full-time employment, respectful treatment, and expanded staffing levels for improved student service “s” are among the demands made by the union.
The 35,000 United Teachers Los Angeles union members, participating in separate contact discussions with the district, have been invited to join picket lines and demonstrations supporting the employee’s strike.
The district announced Wednesday that it had been” “in contact “t” with the school workers union and is trying to end the strike. On Thursday, it was confirmed that classes would be canceled once more.”
“We continue to do everything possible to reach an agreement that honors the hard work of our employees, corrects historical inequities, maintains the district’s financial stability, and brings students back to the classroom. We are hopeful these talks continue and look forward to updating our school community on a resolution”,” the district said in a statement.
On behalf of the workers, district superintendent Alberto Carvalho recognized that the strike resulted from “a “crescendo of discontent “t” that has been building for years, but he told CNN” “We should not be depriving our students of an opportunity to learn.”
Several of the district’s more than 500,000 students are seeking daycare options due to the strike.”
“So far, my wife has planned to take a couple of days off work and maybe stay home with the kids, and I’m going to have to do more overtime,” parent Armando Basulto told KABC.
The efforts of the workers are supported by Rachel Wagner, whose 9-year-old son attends school in Encino, who told CNN that she thinks higher pay will ease staffing shortages and lower turnover.”
“At the end of the day, their working conditions are child’s learning condition,” Wagner said.
Where The Negotiations Stand
The district and union have been in an impasse for almost a year, but Carvalho told CNN that the community is ready to work towards what may be ” “precedent-setting deal.”
The union refused to meet with the district when a district representative revealed specifics of the anticipated negotiations. The two parties had been scheduled for a private mediation on Monday.
Members of the Los Schools’ support workers union are demanding, in part:
• A 30% pay raise, plus an additional $2 an hour over the next four years
• Increased employment hours for part-time workers
The latest offers announced by the Los Angeles school district on Monday included:
• A 23% recurring pay increase, plus a 3% cash-in-hand bonus
• A $20-an-hour minimum wage
• Full health care benefits for those working at least four hours daily.
In his remarks on Tuesday, Carvalho acknowledged that many of the district’s staff workers deal with” “past injustices”s” and expressed the district’s willingness to begin negotiations.”
“Years of substandard compensation levels that – quite frankly, in a community like Los Angeles where the cost of living (and) the cost of housing is so high – have put our workforce, particularly the lowest wage earners, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodial staff, in a position where they cannot live in the communities where they work,” Carvalho told CNN.
The District Provides Support For Families.
The district has made several announcements to help families, some of which rely on the daily meals provided to their children at school, while classes are still suspended owing to the strike.
More than 150 schools offer daytime monitoring. Also, 18 county recreation and park sites are conducting drop-i” “Everyone Pla”s” programs with open gyms and recreational equipment, and 30 recreation facilities are hosting a Special Edition After School Club Program for primary school students.
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Moreover, the Los Angeles County Zoo offers district children free entrance and an elementary school” “community Safari D”y” program.
At twenty-two distribution locations on Monday, some families picked up six grab-and-go meals for each student; however, the city has since discontinued the initiative.
Yet, other parents, like Stephanie Freidenriech, whose son Charles is a sophomore in high school, are concerned that the support services are insufficient. “He’s old enough that I’m not worried about him,” Freidenriech told KABC of her son.
“I’m more concerned about the other kids missing school, younger kids, and parents who have to worry about daycare.”
“Ultimately, I feel thathey’rere probably being left behind in a battle between adults,” parent Mike Bernstein told the affiliate.
Patricia Gault is a seasoned journalist with years of experience in the industry. She has a passion for uncovering the truth and bringing important stories to light. Patricia has a sharp eye for detail and a talent for making complex issues accessible to a broad audience. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated a commitment to accuracy and impartiality, earning a reputation as a reliable and trusted source of news.